Our built and natural heritage is of great importance to all of us. It represents our past, our identity and our culture. However, there is one community in society that has great difficulty in getting to these sites and enjoying them when they are there. How can we make these places more accessible to them now and for the future?
The main issue is that these places are generally not in towns and cities. They were built in the countryside and rural bus routes are notoriously difficult to access, nor do they generally include National Trust, or English Heritage sites on the route. This is where WAV Vehicles come into their own. Clarke Mobility WAV Vehicles are one of the many providers of this service. They allow disabled people with limited mobility or who use wheelchairs, to be able to drive to the sites and experience them.
Government legislation has made it clear that ramps and access points need to be provided as a standard consideration. It is illegal for any new sites to be built without them. Sadly, this poses a problem for a heritage site. They were not built with disabled and wheelchair users in mind. In fact, they were given no thought at all. However, to change the building would be to change the historical fabric of the property and ruin its authenticity. Outdoor sites are easier and we are now starting to see tarmacked and gravel paths that mean the diasabled, and those with poor mobility, have the chance to go around them.